tv Meet the Press NBC October 19, 2015 1:40am-2:40am CDT
as time. i was here, but i wasn't really here. it was very, very difficult. >> reporter: people tell you grief diminishes over time. but days after eric somuah's death, his close-knit family could only dream about whether that moment would ever arrive. >> when i received the paper the next day and i opened it to the obituary section and i saw this
just lost it. >> reporter: sadly, i meet a lot of people in your situation. there are families that really want to know what happened, and then there are other people who are like, not going to bring him back and i don't want to spend another minute thinking about the murderer. you guys clearly in that first group. you wanted an answer, didn't you? >> oh, yeah, we wanted to know who would do this because we just could not understand who would want to kill eric. >> reporter: the family had pointed detective dimitry ruvin at eric's girlfriend, denise. >> we interviewed denise multiple times. >> reporter: ruvin's interest in denise picked up when he learned from the family that her romance with eric was on the rocks. >> he was with her probably about a year. and then after awhile he was just tired of being, i guess, bogged down by someone. >> reporter: according to ruvin, denise told him that she and eric were talking about breaking up by mutual agreement.
ruvin said she also acknowledged eric was dissatisfied with their relationship, giving the detective a theory to consider. older woman, younger man. and now, he wants to end it and maybe see somebody else. >> right. >> reporter: and that breeds jealousy and we know what that leads to. >> correct. jealousy leads to murder. >> reporter: while he continued to investigate denise, ruvin learned from residents in eric's building that there was a woman there he'd been dating for just a few weeks. >> that's why we wanted to talk to katrina. >> reporter: katrina ben came down to police headquarters for an interview. she's visibly upset here. just earlier that day, detective ruvin and his partner had told her that eric was dead. >> i just want to start again by saying just thank you. you don't have to be here. thank you, thank you, thank you
for doing this. >> i don't care. oh my god. i want to know, too. >> yes. >> reporter: they wanted whatever leads she could give them. but they began with the basics. >> how did you meet eric? >> i met eric outside, like two weekses after i'd been there. >> reporter: outside their building. >> and he asked me if i was a nurse. because he was starting some kind of agency nursing agency like what i worked for. >> reporter: katrina did work as a nurse for the nih, the national institutes of health. it turned out she and eric had plenty in common. >> i'm a basketball fan and so is he. so that was our connection. >> reporter: the relationship quickly turned more than friendly. katrina said she and eric had been dating weekly, usually on mondays, ever since. katrina wanted to know about progress in finding her lover's killer. >> we can't really tell you what's going on with the investigation. and the reason is because you're a witness. >> oh, my god!
died. >> well, i think we can tell her where it happened. >> he was killed in his apartment. >> reporter: the interview topic returned to the vibrant eric she knew. >> this guy had so many goals and so many dreams. it's just crazy. it's like he was having the best time of his life. and now he's dead. >> reporter: that explained, katrina said, why he never answered her recent texts. >> did he make any calls on tuesday? am i the only -- am i the last person? can you tell me that? stopped calling me or if he dead? because i've been depressed and suffering and mad and crying, talking to me. we've been like this. just to settle my heart, you know? >> i think your heart can be settled. >> reporter: the detectives consoled her but also continued to probe about that last night together. two days before eric's body was >> i went to his place monday. he stayed with me sunday. >> ok, but monday, you went down yeah. >> reporter: but then, she said,
the night got strange. out of the blue, eric said he wanted to smoke some pot. >> it's like, hey, whatever floats your boat. >> reporter: but she told him that she wasn't interested. she did agree to ride with eric so he could buy weed at a nearby apartment complex. >> i didn't know what was happening. he's never, ever done anything like that around me. >> reporter: they drove up to this building. almost immediately, katrina said the pot dealer jumped into the back seat. >> and it was real quick. i mean, the light was on, the whole deal, whatever they did. and the guy got out. all this happened before the light could even go out in the car. because i'm thinking, if you're going to do something like this, turn the light out. somebody might see me. you know, i work at nih. i don't want to be identified in something like this. >> what'd he look like? >> he was bald, and he had a -- he's about my color. skinny guy, scruffy beard. i didn't see his face straight on. i wasn't trying to look at him directly. i'm not trying to look like i want to know who you are. >> reporter: after driving back to their building, eric and katrina spent the rest of the night watching the basketball
game before they became focused on each other. >> excuse me, if this is too much information, but we had sex for a while, and i went to sleep. >> reporter: a little later, she told the detectives, she was woken up by the sound of eric talking to someone outside the bedroom through a crack in the door. katrina thought she could make out a face. and the man looked familiar. >> she believed the guy to be the drug dealer. >> reporter: the same guy she'd met earlier? >> yes. >> reporter: this was only hours before eric was murdered in his bed. detective ruvin now had another major suspect. >> so we concentrated on the drug dealer. >> reporter: this would prove to be a critical moment in the case, but not for the reasons you think. coming up -- police strike gold maybe in the drug dealer's apartment. >> same kind of gun. >> but struck out with katrina.
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detective dimitry ruvin has worked a lot of homicides. but the death of eric somuah angered him more than most. >> you know, he was just sleeping. to kill somebody while they're sleeping is just -- it's horrible. >> reporter: eric's sisters were grateful to have someone as committed as ruvin working their brother's case. >> he is a phenomenal investigator. >> reporter: and now just days after eric was murdered, it looked as if detective ruvin might give the family some resolution. one of eric's lovers, katrina ben, handed the investigators a new suspect, eric's pot dealer. >> it didn't make sense to me. because i was thinking, why is
he here? >> reporter: katrina told them how uneasy she felt with the dealer in the apartment. >> it was just a little uncomfortable. he just seemed a little weird. >> reporter: so at just around 5:00 a.m., katrina said she got out of there. >> she said the guy then just came up to her as she was leaving and basically pushed her out with the door. >> reporter: based on katrina's account, the police believed eric was killed sometime in the early morning hours of june 5th. ruvin brought in the dealer for questioning, a man named william woodfork. >> and he was like, i have no idea who that is. never met him before. >> reporter: did you believe >> no. i knew eric called him. and katrina's story tied him to eric. at woodfork for hours finally getting him to admit he sold murder. but the dealer balked when ruvin asked why he later went over to eric's.
>> and he was like, what are you talking about? he was so adamant about not even knowing where eric lives. you know, "i'm a weed dealer. i'm not a deliveryman. i don't deliver. people come to me." >> reporter: detective ruvin wasn't about to just take a drug dealer at his word. >> so we end up getting a search warrant for his place. and be recovered a safe from his apartment. and inside the safe was a .380 handgun. it was just like, did he lie? is this our murder weapon? >> reporter: that's the same kind of gun that killed eric. >> it's the same kind of gun. >> reporter: the gun was sent to the firearms lab as ruvin checked to see if he could prove william woodfork was in eric's apartment. but woodfork's dna and fingerprints weren't on the door or anywhere else. you look at the security tape? is he on there anywhere? >> he was never on the security tapes. >> reporter: then the tests came back on the dealer's .380. >> it was not the gun that killed eric. it was the same caliber, but the ammunition was different. so it was just one big
coincidence. >> reporter: now eric's dealer wasn't looking as good for the murder. not only was the gun not a match, ruvin was convinced that the dealer was never at eric's apartment. as for denise, the woman who had been eric's girlfriend, investigators interviewed her three times. she was cooperative and allowed them to look at her phone. >> her phone records put her at home the night of the murder. >> reporter: so they eliminated denise as a suspect. and again, ruvin started from scratch. >> you don't just come in to somebody's apartment and murder them while they're sleeping and expect to get away with it. and i felt like this was my job to find the killer. and i felt like i wasn't doing my job. >> reporter: the detective circled back to the person who pointed them towards the pot dealer in the first place -- katrina ben. the woman who'd been so surprised and distraught by her lover's death.
now the cops wondered if she had deliberately misdirected them. ruvin and his partner asked her back for another chat. >> did you think he was the one? >> eric? did i think he was the one for me? actually, no. but he was trying to convince me that he was the one. >> reporter: just days before katrina had spoken of eric lovingly, but no longer. >> i knew he was a ladies' man. i'm not stupid. >> at some point i asked her to give us her phone because i knew she exchanged messages. and she just flat-out refused to give us her phone. >> reporter: well, that has to make you sort of sit up and take notice. >> yeah, it was a little odd. but at the same time if it was somebody -- my significant other that was murdered, i think i would do anything to help the police. >> reporter: and she wouldn't do it? >> no. >> reporter: katrina's abrupt change in behavior was strange, even alarming, to the detectives. but all they could do was say their good-byes as katrina
headed off to a new job in baltimore. >> at this point there was enough weird behavior from katrina ben. we had nothing solid. nothing really incriminating, but it was just something not being right there. >> reporter: the cops had a nagging feeling katrina ben was lying. that pot dealer wasn't in the apartment the night eric was murdered, but katrina was and suddenly she looked suspicious. but suspicions don't make a case. and right now someone was getting away with murder. coming up -- a damaged gun helps a determined detective shoot a bull's-eye. >> it was recovered the day after we found eric's body.
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>> reporter: unfortunately, what wasn't next to eric's photo on ruvin's desk was any hard the woman ruvin thought knew eric's murder. he decided to take yet another crack at his suspect, and along with another detective, ruvin paid katrina a visit up in baltimore. remained the same. >> reporter: but katrina was also on guard and defensive. >> don't go there with me. >> don't go where? >> no, i feel like you're trying to be sarcastic. >> reporter: instead of focusing on the detectives' tone, katrina should have paid more attention to their clothing. the detective secretly had a tape recorder in his pocket. >> and that's when i asked her about owning any guns. did you own a gun? >> no. >> have you ever fired a gun? >> no!
>> reporter: armed with a warrant, ruvin searched katrina's apartment but did not find a gun. he seized her phone and computer, but cops didn't find anything incriminating. there was no gun registered to her anywhere? >> no. >> reporter: and no sign that she'd ever owned one at any point in her life. >> that's correct. >> reporter: ruvin kept going. >> i subpoenaed her bank records and credit card records. just to see if she purchased any ammunition somewhere. >> reporter: but you didn't find it? >> no. >> reporter: ruvin didn't stop there. he kept looking everywhere. he even went all the way to katrina's home town in mississippi, where he learned something interesting. >> i talked to her dad, who said that he had guns, multiple guns in the house and that katrina had shotguns before. so we knew she lied. >> reporter: but that is no criminal offense. still, ruvin was certain he could eventually find something concrete, and he kept looking. weeks passed.
toughest thing about this job is if it goes unsolved for a while -- >> reporter: you feel like you're letting the family down. >> right, exactly. and especially families that do stay in contact with you. >> reporter: eric's family was eager for answers. they were not shy about letting ruvin know that. >> he gets probably daily phone calls from each one of us, and he was so patient in just explaining -- >> reporter: detective ruvin never said to you, hey, maybe like one of you could call me and tell the other people? >> no. >> never. >> and you look at your phone and you're like, you don't even want to answer them because you have no news. it's the same that it was last week. we think we know who did it, but we can't prove it right now. >> reporter: may 2013. the one-year anniversary of eric's murder approached. and frankly, the investigation had come to a standstill. ruvin wasn't just angry. he was frustrated. he needed to make something happen.
had killed eric, and he knew a were already in police custody all across the d.c. area. them. he began in montgomery county. >> so i decided to look at all .380s which had been recovered in the past year. >> reporter: which was about how many? >> reporter: ruvin combed through the records for each of those guns, most seized by cops but none matched up. until ruvin read the second to last file. it was handgun number 59 out of 60. it was a gun turned in by a tourist from montana who had spotted it lying by the side of the beltway, d.c.'s most traveled road. the only reason the man saw it was because he was parked in d.c.'s famous bumper to bumper traffic. >> it was recovered the day
it was a short distance away from the crime scene. and i was like, let's just test this gun. this gun makes sense. >> reporter: this seems like succeeding against unbelievable odds. >> one in a million. >> reporter: the gun was a mess, missing most of its components, and it looked as it might have been run over after it hit the pavement. but the barrel -- intact. using spare parts, the police firearms lab reassembled the weapon and test-fired it. the result -- a close match to the bullet that killed eric somuah. and on the gun, a serial number. from it, ruvin learned something else. where was it originally sold? >> it was sold at a pawn shop in columbia, mississippi. >> reporter: why was that a big deal? because that little pawn shop was just a few miles down the road from silver creek, mississippi, which was the
ruvin just couldn't buy that as a coincidence. so he took another trip down to mississippi. this time to track down the gun's original owner, which was harder than it might sound. >> this gun had multiple, multiple owners. it would take me 30 minutes just to persuade somebody to talk to me. >> reporter: why? because in mississippi you sound like a stranger? that's so weird. >> possibly sound like a stranger. also, nobody wants to talk about guns. they always think that i'm there to get them in trouble. >> reporter: it was a lot of shoe leather, and ruvin still didn't have a solid ling to katrina. >> it would take some persuading from me to even have people talk to me. >> reporter: but slowly the persuasion paid off. >> and each would tell us, yeah, i had it for a year. and then i pawned it at this pawn shop. >> reporter: after interviewing six former owners of the gun, ruvin arrived at a pawn shop
that bought and sold it sometime around 2003. >> so the owner, he was like, we keep our records in diaper boxes in the back of the shed. and the rats were eating on them. so we decided to just send them to the atf. >> reporter: ruvin offered to come look through those diaper boxes. the response from the atf? thanks, but no thanks. >> the atf agent was just saying, just let us take care of it. so we left mississippi really with nothing. >> reporter: ruvin returned to maryland, wondering if he'd hit another dead-end. he wondered for about a week. it was late june, now more than a year since eric was murdered, when an atf agent called back. >> we found these diaper boxes. we found these records, and we're faxing a receipt. so i was waiting by the fax machine. the fax came through. i looked at the name, and it was katrina ben. she was the last purchaser of that handgun. >> reporter: and you've got her. >> oh, yeah. it was pretty incredible. i was literally jumping up and down. >> reporter: now he just had to
murder. but his family, bound together by grief and faith, felt a kind of serenity. >> i believe that there were certain people that were destined or ordained, i would say, to work this case. detective ruvin, outside of his normal business hours, was very determined. and he persevered beyond what a normal detective would do. >> reporter: the family didn't know it yet, but that perseverance was about to be rewarded. detective ruvin had an arrest warrant for katrina ben. she was living back in mississippi, which is where the cuffs went on to her wrists. >> you have the right now and at any time to remain silent. >> reporter: but katrina ben did not remain silent. not at all. >> and if i was going to do something like this, it would
be -- it wouldn't be like this. it wouldn't be stupid, you know. >> how would it be? out. >> reporter: ruvin had dropped presented to katrina. >> so you're still saying you didn't kill eric? >> of course not. >> okay. did you -- do you own a firearm? >> yes. >> okay, what kind of firearm do >> a .380. >> reporter: remember, katrina had told police she didn't own a gun, hadn't even fired one. >> why didn't you tell us that last time? >> because you never asked if -- i didn't kill anyone, so there's no need for me to say i have a gun. i mean, you never asked. you asked me, have you ever held a gun. have you ever fired a gun. >> reporter: it was simple, they told her. she murdered eric. >> it was your gun that killed him. that's a scientific fact. >> reporter: the question was
>> there has to be a reason. there has to be a reason. and if there isn't a reason, then you're going to go down, i'm telling you, as the most cold-blooded person that we've spoken with because you're so it's going to look horrible. it's going to be bad. >> i'm just going to have my day in court. >> i'm telling you -- >> reporter: but katrina for a lawyer. the detectives put her in lockup call eric's family. >> i was just like, you know, they're going to get this woman. >> reporter: getting a conviction was ultimately the responsibility of montgomery county state's attorney john mccarthy. even with gun, which gets you an arrest and into a courtroom, this was pretty far from an ideal case. >> absolutely. to sell this to a jury when you are basically saying that she felt so betrayed after a three-week relationship that she was driven to murder, that's a little bit of a tough sell. >> reporter: mccarthy assigned
attorney jessica zarrella. at stroo -- at trial she gave katrina a nickname that few would envy. why did you refer to katrina as the monday night girl? >> it was used in the context of a girl who you do not take out, you do not show off and you do not introduce to your friends. she has her purposes, but those purposes are relegated to monday nights and not the more high-profile saturday and friday nights. >> reporter: this was the prosecution theory. katrina learned, maybe from eric's phone, that she was far from the only woman in eric's life. jealousy and anger did the rest, and katrina shot eric while he slept. >> human emotion fuels most homicides. >> reporter: what i keep thinking of is sort of "fatal attraction." an insignificant relationship on one side and a very significant relationship you ask the other person. >> obviously, he made a misjudgment when he became intimately involved with her. and the sense of betrayal that she felt is what fueled this homicide. >> reporter: and, said
killed eric, she quickly ditched the gun and began playing the part of the concerned lover. but she couldn't keep her story straight. >> lies upon lies upon lies to bury the truth and that ultimate truth in this case was that gun. >> reporter: the crux of katrina's defense was that she had no reason to kill eric because she just wasn't that into him. >> eric was a great guy, but i wasn't even trying to be with eric like that and, to be in love with me, i never believed him. >> reporter: what's wrong with the argument that, you know, this was a woman who discovered there were other women in his life and she got incredibly jealous and angry and that tipped her over and she killed him. >> it just doesn't work for ms. ben. >> reporter: karl-henri gauvin was one of katrina's lawyers. >> we have to look at the timing in which these two parties were intimate with one another, a matter of weeks. and so to say that the relationship was at such a strong level that she would
become jealous or irate to the point where she would murder somebody doesn't resonate with the time in which they were together. >> reporter: as for that gun, katrina's attorneys argued that the traveling nurse had long since lost track of it. they said someone could have stolen the gun along the way and used it on eric. >> reporter: she shifts from one residence to another from state to state because of her profession. she may have left the gun -- she was unaware, rather, of where the gun may have been. >> reporter: jurors were not swayed. it took them just six hours to find katrina guilty of murder in the first degree. >> there's no doubt in my mind that had she not been convicted of this crime, katrina ben was just as likely to encounter someone else who disrespected her in the same way that she felt eric did and -- >> reporter: with the same result. >> visit that ultimate consequence which is take his life. >> reporter: the real jaw
katrina addressed the courtroom. >> she stood up as if she was giving a eulogy of my brother. telling us i'm sorry for your loss and all this stuff. it was like a slap in the face. >> she was talking about the murders as though she wasn't even there. you killed this person. you're the reason why we're here. it was just unbelievable. >> reporter: the judge sentenced katrina ben to life plus 20 years. >> justice has been served today, and what you have sown into the life of our dear brother, cousin, nephew, friend, you will reap bountifully with life in prison. >> reporter: now three years after saying goodbye to eric, his large loving family still feels the pain of that loss. >> we do remember eric every day. all the good times we had. it's unfortunate that we have to think about the day that he was
to the day that we actually closed the casket. >> reporter: what they want to do is warn other families to watch out for the other katrina bens in the world. >> i pray and continue to pray that, even in doing this, that it will bring awareness to other people out there about certain types of people and just being very cautious and being aware. >> reporter: so the lesson is be careful who you get close to? >> be very careful. very aware. very important. >> that's all for this edition -that's all for now. i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. this sunday morning, a new sense of urgency in/5e presidential race. on one side, hillary &0clinton's strong debate performance ups the pressure on joe biden and whether he gets in. on the other, trump and carson are sitting on top, but is ted
>> if you're looking far candidate who the career politicians in washington will embrace, i'm not your guy. >> my sit-down with the senator from texas. also, showdown over benghazi. hillary clinton prepares to testify befor??p benghazi committee. but has the committee been discredited even before the hearing starts. plus, did donald trump just blue jay george w. bush for 9/11? >> blame him or don't blame him but:mx he was president. >> or is jeb bush desperately looking to pick a fight with trump? finally, the bernie sanders impersonation we've all been waiting for. >> hello, hello, hello, enough with the hellos, let's do this. joining me to provide insight and analysis are the national"national journal"'s" ron fournier, nbc mitchell of nbc news, amy walter of the cook political report and republican
strategist alex castellanos. welcome to sunday, it's "meet the press." good sunday morning. if you get the feeling that there's a new sense of urgency in this presidential campaign, well, you're right. on the democratic side, hillary clinton's strong performance in the las vegas debate on tuesday has led to calls for the vice president to say thumbs up or thumbs down now. on the republican side, rand paul and chris christie are proving they may be pretenders. jeb bush and marco rubio are both struggling and pointing the finger at the other and a number of other candidates soon may not even be able to pay their bills. so if you don't think the leaders -- donald trump and ben carson -- are in this for the long haul, then the conservative you may want to look at is our next guest. ted cruz was the only other candidate in double digits in this week's fox news poll and he looks like the candidate most likely to pick up trump and carson supporters if -- and that's a big if -- they do eventually stray.
plus, cruz is raising lots of money, not spending much, and he has men areplenty of cash on hand. i caught up with him in new hampshire and asked him how he plans to eventually pick off the trump and carson voters. >> i think donald trump's campaign has been immensely beneficial for our campaign. and the reason is he's framed the central issue of this republican primary as who will stand up to washington. well, the natural follow-up if that's the question is who actually has stood up to washington. who has stood up to both democrats and to leaders in their open party. >> you think that distinguishes you from donald trump and ben carson? >> and from everyone else on that stage. i think my record is markedly different in terms of actually standing up and taking on the washington cartel. and that's why we're seeing, particularly as voters get more and more educated, study the candidate, listen to the candidates in person, i think that's why we're seeing the grass-roots momentum that we're seeing. >> if you were sitting there
staying that you could stop obamacare if you just did what you did and shut down the government and that republicans could stop the iran deal, the fact is, you couldn't. the numbers weren't on your side. there's a democratic president. so did you overpromise? i understand you're saying others, but didn't you? >> look, when it comes to promising, what i promised is that i would fight with every breath in my body to stop the out-of-control spending, the debt that is bankrupting our country, stop obamacare, to protect our nation and all of those are promises that i have honored every single day in the senate. and you know, it's amazing, so i was visiting with a colleague recently who was making that pitch about, well, gosh, the problem is expectations, we need to define expectations. >> correct. a bunch of republicans have been saying this and they blame you. >> it's complete nonsense. you know who the people promising are? it's republican leadership when they campaign. why do you think john boehner is stepping down? he's stepping down because the american people are furious with republican leaders that don't do what they promised. and it's interesting, i do town
asked folks, okay, we have republican majorities in both houses for ten months now. what on earth are they accomplished? every town hall you do the answer is always "absolutely nothing." and usually i respond and say, you know what? it's worse than, that it could have been better if it were nothing. in fact, what the republican majorities have done, we came back right after the last election, passed a trillion dollar bill filled with corporate welfare then republican leadership and leadership joined with harry reid and the democrats to do that. then leadership voted to fund obamacare. then they voted to fund amnesty. then they voted to fund planned parenthood and then republican leadership took the lead confirming loretta lynch as attorney general. chuck, which one of those decisions is one iota different than what would have happened under harry reid and the democrats? the truth of the matter is republican leadership are the most effective democrat leaders we've ever seen.
priorities than harry reid ever could. >> so john boehner is leaving. should mitch mcconnell leave? >> look, that's a question for the republican conference to make. >> you're a member of the republican conference. >> what i have said -- >> have you called -- why don't you challenge him? why don't you call for him to step down? >> what i have said repeatedly chuck, both publicly and privately -- and when i say publicly and privately, that's the same thing -- we need leaders who will honor the promises that men and women have made to us. >> if you're glad john boehner is leaving, how come you don't call out mitch mcconnell? >> listen, at the end of the day -- >> he is your leader. >> at the end of the day it depends on where the votes are in the conference. mitch has the votes to remain as majority leader. >> i'm going to read you quotes from your fellow republicans. senator lamar alexander said this about you. "in kindergarten you learn to work well together and play by the rules. another thing you learn in kindergarten is to respect one
another." senator orrin hatch "squabbling and sanctimony have no place among colleagues in the u.s. senate." john mccain, "i would never contemplate going to the floor of the senate impugning the integrity of another senator. just not what we do here." and, of course, speaker boehner called you a false prophet and another word i won't say on sunday morning television. how do you lead a republican party when orrin hatch, lamar alexander, john mccain, john boehner, these are well-respected men, think this lowly of you. >> listen, if you're looking for a candidate who the career politicians in washington will embrace, i'm not your guy. washington's broken. people are frustrated out of their minds. every one in the republican primary is standing up saying "vote for me because i will stand up and fight washington." two weeks ago we had an epic knock down drag out fight on
millions of conservatives rose up, said "defund planned parenthood." i was proud to lead that fight. and where were the other candidates? it was like they were in the witness protection plan. can you imagine how different that fight would have played out if all 11 republican presidential candidates has descended on washington and said in one voice "mitch mcconnell and john boehner, don't send $500 million of taxpayer funds to planned parenthood." >> you know, there's another way to look at this, senator cruz, which is you stood up on obamacare, you stood up on planned parenthood, you stood up on immigration and nobody followed you. >> well, that's not true. >> i'm saying nobody in washington follows you. if you get elected president, you have to get somebody to follow your lead in washington, whether you like it or not. >> listen, at the end of the day, it's not about read leadership. and by the way, in each of those fights, every time we've had a battle between me and leadership with the republican caucus, about half of the caucus has been with me, about half of the
caucus has been with leadership. at the end of the day, if you're looking for someone who's running to be a member of the club, that's not me. it's interesting, you were reading all the attacks. i mentioned my book, my book i quote all of the nasty things republicans have said about me. and you know in response to that i don't reciprocate, much of the annoyance of many in the media who want me to attack donald trump or john boehner or mitch mcconnell. >> you called mitch mcconnell a liar. that's a tough thing to say on the senate floor. >> let's be clear what i said. i stood up and said mitch mcconnell made the following promise directly to me looking me in the eye to every republican senator and did it publicly and a month later his behavior was exactly 180 degrees to the opposite. this is how broken washington is. listen, the fact that he told a falsehood is a matter of public record. he stated it publicly, then he
and washington is so broken that they treat someone saying the republican leader just did exactly the opposite of what he promised he would do that apparently the troublemaker is the person saying it rather than the person telling the lie. that's what's broken about washington. when i tell you i'm going to do something, chuck, i'm going to do exactly what i said i'm going to do. >> i want to say two more things. paul ryan, a true conservative? >> listen, i like paul ryan, he's a friend of mine. this is obviously a question that is wrapped up in the speaker of the house deliberations. i have said consistently i'll stay out of that. >> but is he a true conservative? >> that's a decision for the house republicans to make. >> mark levin, who you joked and said i want mark levin as a speaker. >> he's definitely a true conservative. >> so you'll say that but you won't say -- he doesn't think paul ryan is.
he doesn't like his stance on the debt limit and tarp. >> i have said consistently throughout that the question of house leadership the question of house republican conference. >> i want to move to foreign policy, afghanistan decision by the president. in favor of it? >> well, listen, it's a recognition that what the president has been saying for years, that al qaeda is decimated, was never true. that it was political spin. the reality is we live in an incredibly dangerous world and sadly the failures of the obama/clinton foreign policy have made the dangers great. >> if you become president you'll keep this policy in place of keeping those troops in afghanistan? >> it will depend on the mission. i don't believe we should be engaged in nation building. i don't believe we should be trying to transform foreign countries into democratic utopias, trying to turn iraq into switzerland. but i do think it is the job of our military to protect this country. to hunt down and kill jihadists who would murder us. >> syria.
>> isis, isis, isis. >> so basically table the assad discussion? >> look, we have no business sticking our nose in that civil war. and there are a lot of politicians, including hillary clinton on the left and including quite a few of the republicans running for president on the right, who want us to get into the middle of that civil war. >> so you're no on the no-fly zones, none of that stuff? stick to just isis? would you work with the russians? if they are helping with isis, would you help? >> of course we shouldn't partner with the russians. look, this is a great example of the utter failure of the obama/clinton foreign policy. this void in power has let putin step in there. there are a couple hundred cubans right now a major cuban general fighting in the syrian civil war. you've got iran, you've got general suleimanny in bed with the russians so you now have russia, cuba and iran all arm in arm and anyone who believes russia is fighting against terrorism, i've got to a bridge
to sell them. >> they're propping up assad but you said you're okay with that. >> i don't think we should prop up assad, either. but here's the problem. you have people who view foreign policy -- you look at some of the republican, for example, who supported hillary clinton's disastrous libya policy. toppling qaddafi? qaddafi was a bad guy but you know what? libya is an absolute chaos and war zone where jihadists are battling back and forth and here's, chuck, the way we should answer -- >> would the middle east be more stable today if you had the strong men? >> of course it would. of course it would. >> qaddafi, saddam, assad? if they're strong men, they keep stability? >> it wasn't even close that libya under qaddafi was better for u.s. interests than the chaos now than that is allowing jihadist to gain strength. >> what about iraq under saddam? >> it wasn't even close. >> do you think iraq would be more stable today under a strongman like saddam? >> based on what we know now should we have gone into iraq? of course not. it was based on the belief they
had weapons of mass destruction that they would use against us. >> you are a believer in using the debt limit for leverage. what do you want republican leadership to do with the debt limit? >> what i'd like to see on the democrat limit is republican leaders fight for something. for pete's sakes, anything. are there a lot of reports right now that john boehner before he steps down as speaker intends to cut a deal with nancy pelosi to raise the debt ceiling and to fund all of obama's agenda. >> and what would what will you? >> for the next year and a half he's got the votes. >> isn't that how democracy works? he's got the votes? i mean, this is how it works. >> you're right. and if he does it he will be the most effective democratic leader in modern times. interview with ted cruz. you can see the complete interview on our web site, "meet the press" nbc.com. coming up, not one but two republicans have said the benghazi committee hearing was
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we are back. however much hillary clinton may have helped herself at tuesday's debate, the main event this month will be her appearance on capitol hill before the house benghazi committee this thursday. both sides are attempting to work the refs ahead of time. here's part of an online video the clinton campaign released in
an attempt to discredit the committee. >> and here's an excerpt of a highly controversy anti-clinton ad that ran during the first democratic presidential debate. >> dear hillary clinton, i'd like to ask you why you ignored calls for help in business and then four americans were murdered. but, mrs. clinton, i can't. what difference does it make? >> we're going to hear from both sides of the aisle in just a moment on what likely will be the most important day of hillary clinton's campaign so far. your body was made for better things than rheumatoid arthritis. before you and your rheumatologist move to a biologic, ask if xeljanz is right for you. xeljanz is a small pill for adults with moderate to severe ra
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